Friday, December 5, 2014

The Transition of the Early Fire Water Towers

Friday, December 5, 2014
Sunny and very cold

The Transition of the 
Early Fire Water Towers

   I recently wrote a few posts about the transitional fire vehicles. These were fire wagon vehicles  that were adapted or "recycled" to motorized cab truck fronts or cabs. It made sense since the engine had just been invented a mere 10 years earlier, and the assembly line by Henry Ford also had  recently proven to be a huge success.  It would take more time to actually create a totally new vehicle specifically adapted to the 20th century.

Please click here to visit this fine American auction company

What I find interesting about cast iron toys is that they were extremely popular in the USA in late 1880's and well into the 20th century. If you look at other metallic types of toys such as pressed steel or tin, I often wonder how they could have had such a long attraction, and yet they did.

Of course, looking at today's image, I can see why. It would not have need so easy or fast to make these toys in tin or pressed steel with their large amount of openings. And they have more of a 3D or three-dimensional feel and appearance to them. The weight of these toys was also heavy. Weight is rarely listed on Liveauctioneers or on auctioneer websites. You can however find weights on ebay or in old catalogues.

One factor that intrigues me is how well these toys must have been crated in order to survive rail transportation  to places all over America. The railroad was an inexpensive and often the only method to ship all over America. Remember that the completion of the American Transcontinental Railroad was completed  in 1869, having been built from 1863-1869. If you visit Wikipedia, you'll find the interesting story there.

Below is what is called a water tower.  A crank would elevate and angle the structure and hose for pouring water on second story or even higher buildings. Of course, you'd need a fire pumper to create the pressure for this to happen. The fire pumper used coal-supplied boilers to create the pressure for the water to put on fires.

Below is a nice fire pumper from the Carpenter company.
Imagine all the action that would have occurred at a fire at the beginning of the 20th century or the late 19th century.  You'd need the horse-driven ladder wagon, the pumpers, and of course the water tower. For a large alarm fire, there would be hundred of firemen, 30-60 horses, all kinds of vehicles, and of course the people watching all of the action!

I hope the photo's author and Wikipedia won't mind that I whitened out the location to place the emphasis on the real horse-drawn steam-powered fire wagon. If you enlarge the following 2 images in Blogger's slide mode,you'll see how complex the real pumper is. 

The toy was made obviously with much less detail, but any "kid" or adult  who would have been to a fire in the 1890's-19210's would have had a real live event that would have remained with him/her forever!

 What always amazes me is how all of the toys companies made similar toys. 

Below is a transitional Kenton water tower fire truck.
Just take away the horses and add a truck front/cab, and presto a 20th century motorized water fire tower. You can compare the Dent horse-drawn  version to the Kenton motorized version. 

Eventually,  we start to see the  more integrated and  newer fire truck , not wagon. Of course, compared to the ones today, it still looks very similar, and the complete transition will still take another 20 years. The toy below is probably from the early 1920's.

I have to tell everyone a secret. Of course if I tell everyone,it's no longer a secret.
Sometimes, if I'm driving near to an actual fire, I will go over and watch. .You have to credit the firemen who brave the elements (winter and summer/ cold and hot) to fight fire and save people and lives.As for my wife and I, our city is quite small and the sirens from the fibre engines scream at least once a week if we're in the house at night. Fortunately, most fires are quickly extinguished thanks to the men and equipment.

Thanks for dropping by to visit,and as always,
have a great part of the day or night,
wherever you may be,

No comments: